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Maladaptive Personality Traits and Psychopathology in Childhood and Adolescence: The Moderating Effect of Parenting


  • This research was supported by a PhD research grant awarded to the first author (Grant 011D0201) under supervision of the second and fifth author.

concerning this article should be addressed to Barbara De Clercq, Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. E-mail:


ABSTRACT This study examines child and adolescent psychopathology from a maladaptive trait perspective, incorporating both parental and child ratings of parenting as a moderator of the personality-psychopathology association. Hierarchical moderated regression analyses were conducted on a combined sample of referred and nonreferred children and adolescents (N=862, parental ratings of parenting and N=396, child ratings of parenting). The results indicated positive main effects of maladaptive traits on externalizing and internalizing problems, and positive main effects of parental negative control on externalizing problems. Significant interactions were found for Disagreeableness and Emotional Instability with parental Negative Control and for Disagreeableness × Positive Parenting in explaining externalizing problems. The discussion focuses on the contribution of these findings to a better understanding of the trait-psychopathology relationship at young age.